Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
by Jason X
Welcome to the first edition of The X Factors. What I will do, is cover moments, wrestlers, promotions, angles, and pivotal figures in the world of professional wrestling. This first one I will cover The Invasion Angle from 2001.
It would be very easy to pin the complete blame of the Invasion angle failing solely on Vince McMahon, which is what many people do. However there were other contributing factors that played a role in the downfall of what was the most anticipated and at the same time one of the worst booked storylines of all time.
The first factor that hindered the Invasion Angle was how WCW was represented. Yes, they were represented by their combined World and United States champion Booker T, and multi-time champion Diamond Dallas Page. Other than that, from a booking standpoint, you weren?t left with much. Many of the names that were synonymous with WCW were at home collecting the rest of their guaranteed contracts. Compare the original Invasion WCW roster of: DDP, Booker T, Buff Bagwell, Shane Helms, Chuck Palumbo, Sean O?Haire, Shawn Stasiak, Lance Storm, Mike Awesome, Hugh Morris and Chris Kanyon. Now, there is nothing wrong with many of those wrestlers, however who would take any of those guys seriously in a match against the best WWF had to offer at the time. But with a roster that would?ve featured names like: DDP, Booker T, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, and then add on everyone else you would have had a killer roster that would look like equals on paper with the WWF roster. And some of those match ups would?ve been true dream match ups, plus the WCW Vs. WWF matches would be able to fill out a full card from the opening match to the main event. Instead we were left with mostly mid carders, and a bunch of guys who were WWF wrestlers going to the WCW side of the angle to give credibility to the group. Especially after DDP was completely jobbed out to the Undertaker only a mere few months into the angle. It just wasn?t smart booking.
The second factor was that hindered the Invasion was adding ECW. Now I?m a huge ECW fan, but there was no reason to bring in ECW to the Invasion Angle. However, I can see why they were added to it. With the angle floundering the way it was having an ECW faction would get a huge pop out of any crowd at that time period. Where they went wrong, was taking an idea that got a massive pop out of the crowd in Atlanta, and had a ton of potential, and wasted it the very same night by having the ECW faction side with their sworn enemies in the real life wrestling wars WCW, then to further kill all heat they would?ve had by having ECW Vs. WCW Vs. WWF they then tagged Stephanie McMahon onto the ECW faction further alienating any true connection to ECW and it?s fans that would?ve been slightly interested in the angle. Plus when you look at the ECW Roster for the angle, every guy but Tommy Dreamer and RVD, were in either WWF or WCW for a year to four months. So in the mainstream fans eyes, it was just shuffling guys into this ECW faction. Once they renamed the combined WCW/ECW faction to the Alliance the angle was on life support.
The third factor that hindered the angle was the real life problems that were involved. From Vince not owning the ECW name and trademark, to Viacom not willing to give WWF another TV slot on any network for the WCW Brand, it was clear that this was not going to happen like we had all wanted it to. I?m sure I?m not the only one who remembers this, but I remember reading 1wrestling.com and seeing that tickets were going on sale for a WCW show in Trenton NJ in July of that year. Then once Viacom said no to the extra show, it became a WWF show. Viacom actually would?ve made more money off of having a WCW show on one of their networks. Now the reason the faction name was changed to the Alliance was that Vince did not own the name ECW, and in fact Acclaim Entertainment was claiming rights to ECW as an entity due to the way their contract was set up that both ECW and Acclaim agreed upon in order for their series of video games to be done. So with a lack of true support from the company that at the time was airing their programs, and with the possibility of being sued for using a trademark they didn?t own, only further watered down the angle.
The Final factor that hindered the Invasion Angle was Vince McMahon himself. If anyone thought Vince would be the bigger person in anything they were proven wrong with this angle. In fact his ego completely destroyed what on paper should?ve been the biggest money making angle of all time. Vince was so consumed in showing the world that his company was better than WCW, that he couldn?t see how allowing the WCW/ECW group look strong would?ve in the end made The WWF look strong when they came out on top in the angle. It?s like what Roddy Piper said in his book, If you continue to make your opponent sound like a loser, then when you beat him what do you gain? You simply beat a loser, and no one in the audience will really care about it. You must make your opponent look good, build them up in the fans eyes, and then when you beat them. The fans knew that you beat someone who was a threat, and it makes them buy into you that much more. Vince just couldn?t do it, and it in fact cost him. It cost him ratings, ticket sales, talent, and so on.
The Aftermath of the Invasion Angle, was that by years end the bubble that was the third golden age of pro wrestling had burst. The WWF now had a roster of guys from WCW and ECW, and many people were getting lost in the shuffle. What should?ve been the greatest angle of all time, has gone on to become one of the worst handled angles, and one of the biggest bombs in wrestling history. Within two years of the Invasion, guys like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, Goldberg, and Hulk Hogan were in the now renamed WWE. Hall, Nash, and Hogan came in as the nWo. Steiner had a fairly forgettable run in the main event with Triple H. Goldberg became World Champion by defeating Triple H. Hogan also became World Champion during his 2002 run with the company. Ric Flair also went to WWE in 2001, and is still a part of the company in some capacity today! I go back to what I had said earlier, that what would?ve happened if said men were part of the Invasion? Hell! Eric Bischoff worked for WWE from 2002 to 2005, and has made appearances here and there since then! Think if he was the man to represent WCW during the Invasion instead of Shane McMahon. That would?ve been huge!
Effects from the Invasion are still seen today on WWE programming. The Brand split is what many assumed would?ve been the proposed WWF and WCW shows. Also, for a time period WWE adopted WCW?s Cruiserweight title over their own Light-Heavyweight title. The WCW Big Gold Belt is still used in a slightly redesigned capacity as the top belt on the Smackdown Brand. The Title History of the NWA/WCW United States title has be used in WWE?s U.S. Title. Even more are many names associated with WCW work for WWE in a backstage capacity. Such men as Arn Anderson, Dusty Rhodes, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and Ricky Steamboat, have or at one time worked as road agents/producers for WWE in the last few years.
The Invasion will probably go down in wrestling history as being the Angle with the most possibility for success, and due to numerous factors getting in the way of it, has become known as the most poorly handled and ego driven angles of wrestling history, and one of the biggest bombs in wrestling history.
That is all for this debut edition of The X Factors. Thanks for reading! If you have any ideas for topics for me to cover in the future let me know at:
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See you next time
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